North Sails LOFT NEWS


Chris Hornell Sets the Scene for Weather on the Bay

📸 Lissa Photography

One of the biggest attractions for first-timers and Sailing Week regulars alike is the weather and wind conditions enjoyed in the Bay of Islands. Bay local Chris Hornell, skipper of TP52 Kia Kaha, says the most common conditions for the height of summer is an east-northeasterly sea breeze, which can fill in up to 15 knots, especially if the wind is lighter in the morning.

“However, every few years we do get a front that pushes in and we can get two to three days of a decent southwesterly and a breezy regatta,” Chris says. Like much of the upper North Island, the bay has been experiencing a persistent southwesterly since Christmas, so he is hoping for a change back to more typical conditions by late January.

Sailors that are familiar with our version of harbour racing often also enjoy sailing in bigger seas. While the inshore courses are more sheltered, the sea state can build in the afternoon with the sea breeze. This can also be affected by offshore systems which send in big rollers from the Pacific. Either way, the conditions and setting usually combine to create ‘champagne sailing’ for the bay races around the islands.

The early morning calm before the sea breeze fills in. 📸 Lissa Photography
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